... more than 20 percent of the city’s elementary school pupils were chronically absent during the 2007–08 school year—that is, they missed at least 20 days of the 185-day school year. In districts serving poor neighborhoods, the numbers are even higher. In the south and central Bronx, in central Harlem, and in several neighborhoods in central Brooklyn, 30 percent or more of the pupils were chronically absent, according to the analysis. In contrast, only 5.2 percent of pupils were chronically absent in District 26, which serves the middle class neighborhood of Bayside, Queens… Of the 725 public schools serving elementary grades (excluding charter schools and schools serving severely disabled children), 165 have chronic absentee rates of 30 percent or more… [MORE and NY Times article]
has led to a landmark agreement between the UFT and Tweed to rate teachers on their ability to prevent chronic absence of their students, Ed Notes News is reporting.
Joel Klein said, "These high absentee rates are clearly due to teachers who do not do lessons interesting enough to get their kids to want to come to school."
"No excuses," proclaimed his able assistant Christopher Cerf when asked about the vast differences in the numbers between the poorer and wealthier areas of the city. "Teachers have to figure out ways to get these kids into school. You do what you have to do. If mouth to mouth is necessary, then damnit do it. That is the way to show a spirit willing to close the achievement gap."
Surgical masks, rubber gloves and hazmat suits will be issued to teachers making visits to sick beds. "See, we're not as heartless as they make us out to be," said Cerf. Schools that do not improve will be closed and replaced by condos.
Randi Weingarten agreed to sign on to a plan to grade teachers based on their attendance figures as long as the results are not publicized. "This once and for all ends the public pillorying of teachers based on the attendance rates of their kids," said a UFT spokesperson. "The results will be used by teachers solely to improve by looking at what is wrong with their teaching to keep so many kids away from school for a month.
Ask but don't tell
The spokesperson said, "And the best part of this is our victory on the Klein-Cerf demand that teachers looking for a job have to show the results. Principals may ask but teachers don't have to tell."
Deputy Mayor for Education and Community Development Dennis M. Walcott will speak at a forum addressing the impact of chronic absenteeism in New York City public schools, following the release of a report from The New School’s Center for New York City Affairs, Strengthening Schools by Strengthening Families. Deputy Mayor Walcott will talk about the importance of creating in all schools a culture that recognizes that failure for our students, regardless of their family or life circumstances, is not an option. He will also reinforce the Department of Education’s efforts to hold schools accountable for students’ academic achievement, and highlight efforts to combat chronic absenteeism and the role of community collaboration and partnerships in that work.
[Last paragraph NOT a parody.]